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May-June News Briefs

June 21, 2013 | News briefs and products from around the industry, including a clinical testing agreement in China, donated ALS data, an NGS developer program, a new high performance storage solution, and more. 
Maverix Biomics has appointed Paul J. Pickering as Chief Operating Officer. Pickering most recently served as General Manager and head of the Digital PCR Business Unit at Life Technologies. Pickering will lead all business functions from customer awareness through post-sales support for the Maverix cloud-based analytic platform for NGS or high throughput genomic sequence data. Designed for use directly by life sciences researchers who may not have a software background or bioinformatics expertise, the Maverix Analytic Platform leverages proven open source algorithms and applications that are preconfigured based on published journal articles. Press release [PDF] 
Metabiomics Corporation and Kindstar Global, the leading specialty clinical testing laboratory in China, have signed a licensing and distribution deal for the development of the world’s first microbiome-based screening test for colon polyps and colorectal cancer. The Metabiomics-developed assay will enable Kindstar to noninvasively detect colon polyps and early stage colorectal cancers in China by sequencing the microbial DNA biomarkers in stool samples. The agreement launches a global strategy for clinical validation and rapid commercialization in the emerging Chinese health market that will leverage Metabiomics’ patent-pending next-generation sequencing technology platform and microbiome biomarkers with Kindstar’s clinical laboratory expertise and marketing, sales, and distribution channels. Kindstar currently services more than 3,300 hospitals across China from their three centralized laboratories in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan. Metabiomics 
Prize4Life and Knopp Biosciences have entered an agreement under which Knopp will donate data from one of the largest clinical trials ever conducted in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to the Prize4Life PRO-ACT database (see, “PRO-ACT: Bigger and Better ALS Database Open for Mining”). Under the agreement with Knopp, de-identified clinical data from 468 placebo subjects in the Phase 3 EMPOWER study of dexpramipexole in ALS will be provided to the PRO-ACT database. Knopp also plans to contribute the treatment-arm data from EMPOWER to PRO-ACT following the completion of future dexpramipexole studies in ALS. Prize4Life 
DNAnexus has launched its new Developer Program, which makes available to bioinformaticians and software engineers the technical and support resources needed to create and integrate data analysis applications on the DNAnexus platform. The DNAnexus platform allows scientists to collaborate and analyze genomic data generated by any next-generation sequencing system within a secure, web-based environment. Teams, large or small, can share analysis workflows and data sets in projects; apps created by DNAnexus and third-party developers provide add-on tools that make it easy to customize and extend the functionality of shared or private genomic data analysis workflows. DNAnexus Developer Program 
CollabRx, a data analytics company focused on informing the clinical interpretation of molecular diagnostic testing, has signed two recent collaborations to enable sequencing in the clinic. With GeneInsight (see, “GeneInsight: Genetic Knowledge to Action”), CollabRx has signed an agreement to deliver a unique medical informatics solution to support the interpretation and reporting of genetic variants from sequencing-based tests. CollabRx medical and scientific content will be made accessible through the GeneInsight knowledge management platform. Initially focused on oncology, the combined offering will be available to the clinical laboratory market. With the thoracic oncology program at the University of Chicago Medical Center, CollabRx content and technology resources will be combined with the results of genetic sequencing-based tests designed to enable physicians to consider a tumor’s unique genetic profile in cancer treatment planning. GeneInsight details | University of Chicago details 
Juan R. Perilla, one of the key researchers on the HIV Capsid simulation project from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (see, “Researchers Characterize Chemical Structure of HIV Capsid”), is presenting a webinar highlighting the technologies used to complete the model. “Uncovering the Elusive HIV Capsid with Kepler GPUs Running NAMD and VMD” will be held on Thursday, July 11 at 9:00 PDT. Registration 
New Products 
Xyratex has introduced the ClusterStor 1500, an affordable, high-performance storage offering designed for the mid-range of the HPC storage market. ClusterStor 1500 is the latest addition to award-winning ClusterStor family of data storage solutions for HPC and Big Data. ClusterStor 1500 features a unique architecture that brings together what were previously discrete server, network and storage platforms with their own separate software layers into a single integrated, modular, scale-out storage building block. The system also features reduced hardware complexity with increased reliability, availability and serviceability, and the ability to scale performance from 1.25GB/s to 110GB/s and raw capacity from 42TB to 7.3PB. Xyratex 
Computational biologists and computer scientists at UC San Diego released version 3 of Cytoscape, the leading open source visualization software platform supporting systems biology. Cytoscape enables researchers to visualize molecular interaction networks and biological pathways and integrate them with annotations, gene expression profiles and other state and process data. Features new in Cytoscape v3 include edge bending and bundling visualizations (see image below), network annotations, advanced searching, node grouping and associated tutorials. Cytoscape 
Ceiba Solutions has introduced its portfolio of Information Innovation Solutions spanning three areas that can erode scientists’ productivity: IT infrastructure management, multi-vendor application service and support, and information analytics. R&D organizations can use the solutions to streamline operations and free scientists to spend more time on research and other core activities related to bringing new products to market faster. Ceiba Solutions 
PerkinElmer has released Lead Discovery 5.1, the newest software for the TIBCO Spotfire platform. With Lead Discovery 5.1, researchers and scientists can filter experimental data sets by chemical structure and pinpoint promising structural features and scaffolds in the output from their medicinal and combinatorial chemistry programs. Users can now mine chemical databases to identify more compounds that have similar chemical structures, broadening their potential pool of candidates based on known properties and shortening their time to discovery of a viable candidate or lead. PerkinElmer also announced its collaboration with Blaze Bioscience to provide real-time near-infrared fluorescence imaging of tumors for surgical oncology research applications with the ultimate goal of translating these disruptive solutions into the clinic. Press Release 
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